Letter: Naming secular babies

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Sir: Sara Maitland's dismissal of secular naming ceremonies (Comment, 26 May) seems to bear little relation to the lives of many new parents today.

Clearly Maitland has not been to one of the ceremonies put together by parents with help from the Baby Naming Society, an organisation set up by Lord Young of Dartington in 1994. In these ceremonies, parents make promises to the child for his or her long-term welfare and other adults are appointed as supporters of the new family who also express this publicly. The promises are not prescribed, so the parents and godparents (who might be known by another title) have to decide what it is that they can promise. They have to talk about their hopes and aspirations as parents. The supporting adults have to consider what part they will play in the child's upbringing.

For non-Christians a baptism is meaningless and another ceremony in which they pledge themselves to their child can take on integrity and significance. If there are other adults willing to stand up and say they will keep watch over the child and be willing to offer love, friendship and guidance it would seem a very powerful way of creating new bonds between the child and society.

ROSIE STYLES

Director

Baby Naming Society

Pershore, Worcestershire

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